In a matter of seconds at Crabapple Lane Elementary School in Peachtree City, one young life—choking, suffocating in the cafeteria, just seconds away from perhaps losing consciousness, perhaps dying.
Another young life was not about to let that happen--Frank Nevarez, Jr.
“He started choking on a piece of popcorn,”
Frank Nevarez, Jr is a 5th grader and a Boy Scout, who has just turned 11-years-old. That day, last month, he heard children in the cafeteria screaming and yelling for help. Frank looked up and saw a classmate choking.
He was prepared, and knew exactly what to do.
“I kind of turned around and he was like turning bright red, you couldn’t even see his pupils, so I got behind him and I did a Heimlich,” Frank said.
Frank performed the Heimlich maneuver immediately, even before teachers could race up to reach the choking child.
“He told me that after three compressions, it kind of came up in his mouth," Frank said.
“He was about to pass out, so I had to do it immediately. If I'd waited any longer, he would have probably been on the floor.”
Frank is a Tenderfoot Scout with Flint River Council Troop 79 at Hopewell United Methodist Church in Tyrone. He joined the Scouts this past February and has earned ten merit badges, so far--including the First Aid merit badge. And that is why Frank saw an instructor demonstrating the Heimlich maneuver.
He saw it, but, "I’d never tried it before,” he said. “So I kind of remembered and had a flashback and I did it on him.”
Frank’s parents, Frank Nevarez, Sr., and Marysol Nevarez, are both school bus drivers. They remember that day--children were running up to them, telling them what their son had just done.
"And they said, well, he saved a kid’s life," Marysol recalls. "And I said, Frank? And I got very emotional… teary-eyed, and I mean I just couldn’t believe… my ten-year-old-at-the-time had saved another child.”
The school board honored Frank, and he’s on a mission to get the schools to teach all children what he learned in Scouts, to teach everyone the Heimlich maneuver.
“People would call me a hero, but I honestly don't consider myself one. Because anyone could have done it," if only they knew how. "I’d actually like to see if there are classes that every person could take. That way, they could do it. I’m actually going to the Superintendent about it,” Frank said.
So, Frank will meet with the Superintendent of Fayette County Schools and, thanks to Frank, those few seconds in the cafeteria--when life and death hung in the balance--may end up giving all students a lifetime, life-saving skill.